Anne-Sophie Pic’s gin
Audemus Spirits has created a limited-edition gin with high-profile French chef Anne-Sophie Pic and her Argentine sommelier Paz Levinson. Rich in pepper and fresh citrus, the gin is said to be inspired by Pic’s cuisine and features Meyer lemons harvested in south-west France, Cubeb pepper, passion berry and juniper. All of this is underlined with a Japanese smoked tea, adding a subtle and lingering finish, according to the tasting notes. The gin has been designed to pair with Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic but is also suitable for cocktails or drinking neat over ice. There are just 570 bottles available. Pic and Levinson were also involved in Audemus Spirits Fractal 2.0, a ‘hybrid’ spirit that combines a rose geranium eau-de-vie with cold-infused coffee to create a full-bodied and warm flavour profile with floral notes that ‘emulates the experience and sensation of an aged spirit’.
New core beer from Two Tribes
Contemporary London-based brewer Two Tribes has added a new beer to its core range of beers. Metroland is described as a ‘beer for people living in cities with elastic borders’ and combines a refined grain bill with Simcoe and Amarillo for a ‘punchy and refreshing IPA’ that’s citrus-y and hoppy with a backdrop of orange peel and papaya. The King’s Cross-based brewer will also soon unveil beers produced in collaboration with The Nomad Hotel in Covent Garden and newly-three-Michelin-starred chef Clare Smyth.
Retro-flavoured gins hit the market
Copper Rivet Distillery owner Russell Distillers has launched a collection of retro-flavoured gin liqueurs. Luridly coloured, the R3 range comprises Jaffa Cake, Rhubarb and Custard, Lemon Sherbet, Strawberries and Cream, and Cola Bottle. The company says the new products will allow it to access a new customer base in the burgeoning flavoured gin market, which is predicted to be one of the biggest growth areas for the drinks industry this year. “As a result of the pandemic, we’ve accelerated plans to broaden and diversify Russell Distillers’ capabilities,” says co-founder and commercial director Stephen Russell. “While there remains a substantial and growing customer base who seek out what we are known for and what I call ‘serious’ spirits, there is a new opportunity to engage consumers who want fun spirits.”
0% ‘aperitivo’ style spirit
Inspired by the Italian cultural practice of aperitivo - AKA a drink before a meal - Tuscan Tree is a 0% abv distilled spirit infused with blood orange juice, Italian sparkling wine and botanical distillates. The product is primarily designed for spritzs, with suggested serves including a large measure (75ml-100ml) of Tuscan Tree topped up with either soda or tonic water and served in a large, ice-filled glass and garnished with a wedge of orange. It’s also recommended for non-alcoholic negronis - nogronis. Created by The Bloomsbury Club and distributed by Craftwork, the product is competitively priced at £10.99 retail and is vegan friendly and allergen free, with no artificial flavours, sweeteners or colours.
Elephant Gin Orange Cocoa
Elephant Gin has launched an Orange Cocoa expression in anticipation of Easter. Made with organic orange and cocoa beans that create what is described as a ‘textured and bright’ gin it is said to work well in a G&T and Dry Martini served with rosemary and a twist of orange as well as cocktails. It is priced at £31 for a 500ml bottle.
Sub continental wine gets a boost
Indian wine looks set to gain a bigger presence on these shores following the launch of the UK’s first exclusively Indian wine agency. Wines in India is launching with six top end producers and is already supplying Indian restaurants Darbar and Thyme & Chillies as well as specialist wine bar Diogenes The Dog. Selected by India’s only Master of Wine Sonal Holland, most of the producers are based in the highly regarded Nashik region, which is north east of Mumbai. Wines in India says it is on a mission to dispel any misconceptions the trade and consumer may have about Indian wines by ensuring the focus is on 'elegant, world class offerings'. The potential for growth in the UK is significant, with very few of the country’s 17,000 Indian restaurants listing Indian wines due to a lack of both availability and quality. The current portfolio includes Charosa, which specialises in international grapes; Good Drop Wine Cellars, which producers sparkling wine; Reveilo, a boutique estate with an Italian winemaker specialising in Italian grapes including Sangiovese, Nero D’Avola and Grillo; and Vallonné Vineyards, a minimal intervention winery and producer of India’s first Provencal-style rosé, and the first Indian Malbec. “There is significant potential for an Indian wine specialist here, given that the UK trade is particularly open-minded to emerging territories coupled with the British love affair with Indian cuisine,” says director Chris Holland. “Knowledge of India’s wines is relatively low amongst the trade, so our key strategy will be one of education.”
Hattingley Valley debuts still white wine
Hampshire winery Hattingley Valley has launched its first still white wine. The 2020 Chardonnay joins the brand’s STILL By Hattingley range that includes a 2019 Rosé and 2016 Pinot Noir, both of which were released last year. STILL Chardonnay is made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from a range of parcels in Kent and Essex and has a price tag of £19.50 a bottle.
Tanqueray joins temperance movement
Tanqueray is the latest big-name spirits brand to throw its hat into the zero alcohol ring with the launch of Tanqueray 0.0%. Joining brand-owner Diageo’s Gordon’s 0.0% alcohol free spirit, Tanqueray 0.0% is made using the same blend of botanicals used in the making of Tanqueray London Dry gin, including coriander, angelica and liquorice. “Tanqueray 0.0% delivers a truly authentic, vibrant alcohol free experience that captures the spirit of Tanqueray perfectly,” says Anita Robinson, marketing director GB at Diageo.
Eden Mill’s oak gin
Distiller Eden Mill has released the first expression in its new ultra-premium gin collection Distiller’s Choice. Oak Old Tom Gin is a limited edition gin that uses the same American oak chips from Eden Mill’s Oak Gin in the aging process to create a spirit described as having a ‘balance of creamy oak and vanilla sweetness combined with the aromatic cassia spice and a light peppery finish’. The 49% abv gin has an rsp of £40.
Menagerie shows whisky’s wild side
Compass Box says its it exploring Scotch whisky’s ‘wilder side’ with the launch of its latest limited edition. Called Menagerie, the whisky is a blend of single malts from four distilleries: Mortlach Distillery, Deanston Distillery, Laphroaig Distillery and Glen Elgin Distillery, combined with Compass Box’s Highland Malt Blend. It is bottled at 46% abv and has tasting notes of fruit, oily smoke and forest floor that the distiller says complements air-dried beef such as bresaola and biltong.
Braybrooke's three new lagers
Braybrooke Beer Co has added a number of limited additions beers to its range for spring - three types of pilsner, and a Baltic porter. The three new pilsners use the same malt at Braybrooke’s New Zealand pilsner but are each made with a different hop - Spalt Select, Aurum, and Diamant, the latter two having never been used in the UK before, according to the brewer. Spalt Select has citrus and herbal notes whereas the Aurum has a classic noble hop aroma with spicy and herbal notes and Diamant is described as being ‘refreshingly intense yet refined’. Launching later this spring will be the Baltic Porter with Braybrooke collaborating with Explore Chocolate and Jute Coffee for its strongest beer to date. At 7.4% the porter contains ingredients including cocoa husks, dark sugar and coffee beans and has been matured for 12 weeks that results in a beer with flavours of coffee, toasted bread and molasses.